All New Monday Feature: Project Project Gutenberg
Once upon a time, I was a very new, very provincial, very naive graduate student in the English Department at Ohio State University. Jane, whose last name I can’t remember, was in every way my antithesis: tousled, world-weary, wreathed in cigarette smoke, so fabulously thin that her hipbones had worn holes in her perfectly-aged Levis. And she had scored the coolest assistantship ever. She sat in her own personal carrel in the Rare Books Room and wrote plot summaries of 19th- and 20th-century American popular fiction in the William Charvat Collection.
In Heaven, that will be my job.
But why wait? I’m hiring myself to read at least one novel a week from the glorious abundance of Project Gutenberg, and I’ll review them here. To make it more interesting for all of us, here are some ground rules.
1. No re-reading. They have to be novels I haven’t read yet.
2. In the spirit of the best elementary school reading projects, I’m starting at A and working my way through the alphabet–one novel per letter.
3. Novels only, and in English.
4. Titles chosen solely on the basis of screen appeal. If I think a book sounds interesting, I’ll snag it.
5. Reader beware! There will be spoilers. So if you’ve been scrupulously avoiding reviews of Herman B. Vestal’s The Acid Bath, don’t take a chance. Skip that post.
And this week’s novel, to be reviewed as soon as I’ve had a chance to finish it, will be:
At Last, by Marion Harland, New York, 1870. It opens with a “ferocious” matchmaker, Mrs. Rachel Sutton, which is pretty promising. Watch this space for more!